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Manchester United opened their Premier League campaign with a stirring 5-1 win over Leeds on Saturday. Old Trafford was packed out as the Red Devils ran riot, with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba both stealing the show. And it means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side currently sit top of the Premier League table ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
Manchester United went into their match against Leeds with fans not knowing what to expect.
After all, their record on opening days has been mixed under Solskjaer so far. They beat Chelsea 4-0 two years ago but, last term, were battered 3-1 by Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Yet United put any doubts over their consistency aside to blow Leeds away.
Fernandes was particularly outstanding, with the Portugal international notching his first hat-trick for the club.
And Mason Greenwood and Fred also found the net as United claimed victory, firing their side to the summit in the process.
It was a great day for the Red Devils – but not for every player. So Express Sport will now take a look at three stars who may struggle for action in the wake of the result.
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Manchester United battered Leeds in their Premier League clash (Image: GETTY)
Donny van de BeekDonny van de Beek’s professionalism is laudable.
After enduring a rough time at United last term, and missing Euro 2020 through injury, the Netherlands international could have been forgiven for eyeing a move away, a fresh challenge elsewhere.
But Van de Beek instead spent the summer bulking up, putting on the muscle in a bid to show he can handle life in the Premier League.
After impressing in pre-season, some expected the 24-year-old to start against Leeds.
But it was a similar story for the Dutchman, who found himself on the bench for the entirety of the contest.
When Pogba and Fernandes are both this good, he simply can’t be crammed into the team. And if the duo gel like this all season, more time on the bench for Van de Beek likely awaits.
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Manchester United have backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the transfer front this summer (Image: GETTY)
Nemanja MaticLike Van de Beek, Nemanja Matic was another player who impressed during pre-season.
But with Fred and Scott McTominay back to their best against Leeds, the Serbia international’s role is unlikely to change.
At the moment, he’s a squad player. He’s not going to start every match and, with Roma and Jose Mourinho lurking, the midfielder eyeing a move away would certainly be understandable.
As Matic enters the twilight years of his career, he’ll want to play.
And that’s unlikely to happen at United, especially with Fred and McTominay both so trusted by Solskjaer.
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Manchester United duo Matic and Van de Beek may struggle for action after Leeds win (Image: GETTY)
Edinson CavaniWhile United were tearing Leeds apart, Edinson Cavani was training at home.
The Uruguay international uploaded footage on his social media accounts of him on the treadmill, tuning in, with his young daughter keeping him company.
And while United want Cavani to play a big role this term, getting into the team ahead of Greenwood may take some doing.
Solskjaer has long admired the teenager, who now has seven goals from his last nine appearances in the Premier League.
And with United considering Greenwood to be at the heart of their future, playing him all the time in the No 9 position would certainly aid his development as a striker – potentially at Cavani’s expense.
Manchester United star Cavani could struggle to dislodge Greenwood after Leeds win (Image: GETTY)
Solskjaer reacts to Leeds winSpeaking after United’s win over Leeds, Solskjaer purred over his side’s display on the day.
“This is Man United, this is the real Man United, this is how I sold Man United to Edinson (Cavani) for example, that you can’t leave after one season with no fans,” he said.
“It was electric, absolutely magic. It does mean a lot for the players. This atmosphere gives you the extra edge and energy.
“You can’t replicate that from a team-talk. When you run down that end and you score four goals like we did second half, it’s just the best feeling in the world.
“There’s always the next game, but this is a great start.
“This is, for me, the way I want to see my team play, not just because it is Leeds. I want to see them running going forward, taking risks, and we looked fit – some of these players have not played more than 45 minutes.”